High Point Local 673 History

High Point – Bits and Pieces of History

High Point Charter No. 673

IAFF Charter Application, October 2, 1940, Received – October 7, 1940

IAFF President: Fred W. Baer

IAFF Secretary/Treasurer: Geo. J. Richardson

Local 673 Temporary President: G. W. McGee

Local 673 Temporary Secretary/Treasurer: J. T. Bennett, Jr.

Organized by: A. E. Brown, AF of L Organizer

Fight the Hitlers Abroad and the Hitlers At Home

The North Carolina Federationist, November, 1940

By:  C. B. Kornegay, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Wilmington District

Our Fire Fighters Local Union is making great progress.  Brother Cherry, our orator and labor statesman, reports the organization the Fire Fighters in Durhamand High Point since the August convention of the State Federation of Labor. The public, the property owners and the insurance companies in those cities will be the greatest beneficiaries of the organization of these Local Unions.  Such has been the case here in Wilmington, and I am confident that the same will be true inHigh Point and Durham.  The Fire Fighters Local Union here is not neglecting the social side of life.  The Union has a fine softball team, and when they go upon the diamond in their blood-red uniforms, superb ball playing follows.  The ace pitcher, Bill Gleason, was given much credit for the fact that our team won the championship of the league.

Fire Fighters Set Up State Organization In N. C.

The North Carolina FederationistNovember, 1940

By:  K. J. Smith, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of labor Raleigh District

On October 29, 1940, delegates from all organized fire departments inNorth Carolina met in High Point to install charter, and elect officers for their new organization, “The North Carolina Fire Fighters Association.”

The convention was called to order at 10 A. M. by T. G. Womack, president, High Point Fire Fighters Association, who in turn introduced Brother Hugh Kilgore, vice president, International Association of Fire Fighters, and presented him with the gavel.  Brother Kilgore presided over the convention until the officers were elected.  The first speaker on the program was the Honorable Arthur Kirkman, mayor, High Point.  Mayor Kirkman delivered a short address of welcome.  Speakers following the mayor:  George J. Richardson, secretary-treasurer, I. A. of F. F.; Brother A. E. Brown, A. F. of L. organizer, and Brother George Kendall, A. F. of L. representative from Charlotte, all of whom delivered most inspiring talks.

Most outstanding at this convention was the fact that everyone attending seemed to be in a serious mood, there for the purpose of transacting such business as necessary to bring about a closer fellowship, and understanding among all firemen in North Carolina, that we, by our collective action may work to the same end, and not at cross purposes.  By our action at this convention I think that everyone is agreed that we have marked the beginning of a new era for firemen in this state.  I am proud of the way the delegates conducted themselves.  With this spirit prevailing, we cannot fail, we shall go forward.

The convention adopted a resolution calling for a statewide civil service law covering all departments in cities having a population of 30,000 or more. With this in mind I urge the State Federation to lend whatever assistance possible in our behalf at this session of the legislature.

Internal IAFF Memo to Draw Up Charter

IAFF Historical Document – October 15, 1940

Mr. Clark:

            Following is a list of Cities to be placed on a charter for “The North Carolina Fire Fighters Association.”

  1. Local No. 548, Raleigh
  2. Local No. 638, Wilmington
  3. Local No. 660, Charlotte
  4. Local No. 668, Durham
  5. Local No. 673, High Point

Please send the charter to Mr. K.J. Smith, Sec’y-Treas., Local No. 548,2511 Stafford Avenue, Raleigh, NC.

                                                            Fraternally yours,

                                                            George G. Richardson


Fire Fighters’ Local Unions Growing Through State

The North Carolina FederationistNovember 1940

By:  K. J. Smith, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Raleigh District

Another Local Union of Fire Fighters has been added to our roster since the last issue of THE FEDERATIONIST.  The new Local is at High Point, and signed up 100 percent strong, bringing the number of Local Unions of Fire Fighters in the state to five – Wilmington, Raleigh, Durham, High Point and Charlotte.  We hope soon to double the number, as we are now working onAsheville, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Salisbury-Spencer and Gastonia.  With these added to the five strong Locals already formed, the firemen of this state would be in splendid position to exert strong influence for every member of all the departments in the state.

Firemen in North Carolina have for many years failed to realize that they are free to organize and work together with other labor forces and influences in obtaining remedial legislation and improving their lot in life.  As tax-paying citizens and men who protect the property and lives of all the citizens of our cities, firemen have every right under the constitution to band themselves together for mutual protection and advancement.  The past year has demonstrated the fact that the fire fighters have at last been aroused to a realization of the fact that they are free to organize, and the further fact that only through organization will they ever be enabled to come into their own.

Officials of the cities wherein we have organized, chiefs and assistant chiefs of the departments have cooperated with us in splendid manner.  We are highly appreciative of this attitude on the part of our officials, both city and department officials.

I wish to pay especial tribute to Brother A. E. Brown, to whom goes the credit for the High Point Local.  Brother Brown wired me on September 30, and requested that I come to High Point and assist him in signing up this new organization, of which I was very glad to do.  We spent the day working with these boys, and after overcoming some few handicaps was successful as stated above, in signing up a 100 per cent organization.  However, I wish to say that due to Brother Brown’s untiring efforts prior to this time is really what made this new Local possible.

High Point Firemen Organize Local Union

The North Carolina FederationistNovember, 1940

By:  C. B. Kornegay, Vice President North Carolina

State Federation of Labor Wilmington District

Members of High Point’s fire departments have organized a 100 percent Local Union.  A. E. Brown, organizer for the State Federation of Labor, and Vice President Smith, of Raleigh, assisted the local Fire Fighters in perfecting their organization.  These men give high praise to the mayor of High Point, the chief of the fire department, and other city officials for their very fine attitude and cooperation in the organization of the Local Union here.

High Point was an IAFF Local when Public Employees Unions were barred in 1959.

The following three articles give a glimpse of the history of how North Carolina Legislators

Declared illegal “Public Employee Unions” and “Contracts between Public

Employee Unions and their Employers.”

Hoffa Threatens Strike across Nation if Antitrust Laws Pass

Asheville Citizen-Times, Wednesday, May 20, 1959

BROWNSVILLE, TEX (AP) – James Hoffa Tuesday threatened a nationwide strike of all labor if Congress harnesses unions with antitrust laws.

            “They talk about a secondary boycott,” the short husky Teamster president said in scorn.  “We can call a primary strike across the nation that will straighten out the employers once and for all.”

            The antitrust proposal came from Senator John L. McClellan (D-Ark.) in a recent Senate speech, Hoffa said.  Some business interests have proposed in congressional hearings that all unions be put under antitrust laws.

            In Washington, AFL-CIO President George Meany made it clear Hoffa could not count on AFL-CIO Unions in any such protest strike.  Meany said “Hoffa’s threat is a pretty good indication, if any indication was needed before, that we were perfectly right in kicking the Teamsters out of the AFL-CIO.” “When legislation is enacted and we don’t like it, then it is our policy to seek out change through the legislative system and not through revolution,” Meany said.

            McClellan denounced Hoffa’s remarks as a threat against Congress and the people.  “Don’t minimize or underestimate the danger to our free economy and internal security that are involved in this threat,” he said.  “Such dangers do exist. They are real and sometimes something must be done about them.”

            The 300 delegates of the South Atlantic Coast District Convention of the International Longshoremen’s Union cheered Hoffa’s remarks should such a law be passed.  “The only answer is that if such a law passes, we would have all our contracts end on a given date,” the turbulent Teamster Chief declared.  From the context it was clear that he referred to all unions, just not the Teamsters.  “Such a uniform contract expiration would permit all unionized workers to strike at the same time.”

            Hoffa also alluded to the possibility of a nationwide strike in the current issue of life Magazine.  Hoffa is quoted as saying, “We may eventually have to do what labor unions do in Europe and call for general strikes.  We are organizing all transportation fields.  We are trying to create a conference of transportation unions.  So we are now in the position to control the strike issue.  If Congress is stupid enough to pass a bill banning secondary boycotts, we will fix it so all our contracts expire on the same day.”

            In Washington, Sen. Pat McNamara (D-Mich.), himself a onetime Teamster official said, “Any such strike would be suicidal, just crazy.”

Union Ban Clears House

Asheville Citizen-Times, Thursday, May 21, 1959

Raleigh (AP) – A proposed law to prohibit union membership for law enforcement officers and firemen passed the halfway mark Wednesday in its legislative journey.

            The House completed action on the bill with an overwhelming third reading vote after a supporter painted a picture of firemen pressing demands while cities burn down.

            The name of Teamster President Jimmy Hoffa also entered the debate on the need for bill sponsored by Rep. Frank Snepp of Mecklenburg as an outgrowth of a Teamster’s organizing drive among Charlotte policemen.  The bill now goes to the Senate.

            Rep. Wayland Spruill of Bertie raised the prospect of idle firemen in the case of fire in arguing for the measure to outlaw union membership.  “Supposed they call a strike and said, “we won’t pick up a hose, we won’t put out fires unless you do what we want.”

N.C. Outlaws Union Membership for Firemen, Enforcement Officers

Asheville Citizen-Times, Thursday, June 4, 1959

RALEIGH (AP) – A ban on union membership for law enforcement and firemen became law Wednesday.  Bitterly fought by labor officials and spokesmen for firemen, its passage through the legislature echoed with the name of Jimmy Hoffa, Teamster’s National President.  Sponsors called it a needed bulwark against union bids for power.

            Fiery debate before the Senate enacted the measure with the voice interjecting the name of Charles Cannon, Tar Heel textile magnate.  “I’ve got a belly full of Charles Cannon telling the General Assembly what to do,” cried Sen. James Simpkins of Craven who lost an effort to send the bill back to committee. He called it a “hate bill” which he claimed would soil the state’s national reputation.

            Sen. J. Carlyle Rutledge, whose county of Cabarrus embraces the Cannon textile empire, demanded Simpkins apologize “for such an uncouth statement when it refers to one of the foremost citizens of this state.”  The young Craven Senator refused.

            Rep. Frank Snepp of Mecklenburg introduced the bill as an outgrowth of unionizing drive on the Charlotte police force.

            After the formality of ratification, the measure will prohibit state government agencies from entering into contract with labor unions.  It will spell out the power of government agencies to forbid their workers from joining labor unions.